Disney World has closed a mask loophole, banning park visitors from eating and drinking while they walk as a means to encourage attendees to wear masks.
“Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members,” reads Disney World’s official policy. “Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming.”
The policy only allows eating and drinking as long as guests remove their masks while standing still and socially distant from others. “You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing,” the policy reads.
Previously, the theme park’s visitors were able to avoid wearing a mask by using the “eating and drinking” loophole.
“Mask rule update. Disney has updated face covering guidelines to say that guests may only remove masks when ACTIVELY eating and drinking, and must be stationary and physically distanced when doing so,” said writer Brooke McDonald in an Instagram post. “This means no more munching Mickey pretzels or sipping drinks as you stroll.”
“Guests are now being asked to find a safe spot six feet from other guests before removing their masks to eat and drink,” said a Disney cast member at EPCOT of the new rules, according to a report by Walt Disney World News Today.
The report added that guests who are caught not wearing a mask under the new rules will be asked to either put one on or leave, adding that visitors can take a break at what is called a “relaxation station” if they want to remove their mask. “Once inside these stations, guests may remove their face covering and have a socially-distanced sit-down,” reports Walt Disney World News Today.
Las Vegas casinos have also banned eating and drinking in order to ensure masks are worn at all times, according to a report by Deadline.
Disney’s policy says “costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules,” adding that “the use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.”